The Weyburn Red Wings threw everything they had at the Battlefords North Stars, but the top rookie goaltender in the SJHL stonewalled them at nearly every turn, as the Stars came away from Crescent Point Place with a 2-1 win Saturday night. Joel Grzybowski, getting his second start against the Wings this season, atoned for a 4-3 loss to Weyburn back in October, as he turned away 23 shots.
The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, when a shot from Layne Young went off of one of the Red Wing defenders, and past Carter Phair, making it a 1-0 game. The Wings wouldn't remain down for long, though. With just under three minutes left in the period, Mike Eskra scored his sixth of the season, with a shot from the point that got past Grzybowski.
Discipline was a key theme for both teams throughout the game. In the first period, it was the North Stars who paraded to the penalty box, as they took five minors, including a double minor for cross checking to captain Kendall Fransoo.
In the second period, it was the Wings who were serving penalties, as they incurred five minors themselves. The Stars were unable to get anything past Phair, though, nor through the defenders. Of note were Blake Dempsey and Carson Scheschuk, who blocked a number of shots in penalty kill, and five-on-five situations.
In the third period, both teams frantically played end to end, trying to get the go-ahead goal. The goaltenders were determined to not let that happen, though. Finally, with 1:08 on the clock in the game, Coby Downs redirected a shot from Ben Allen past Phair, giving the Stars the lead. The Wings tried to get a rush going late in the game, but with the net empty in favour of the extra attacker, they could only muster one quality chance, which Grzybowski was able to turn aside.
The Wings will now prepare for three games in three nights next weekend, when they head to west-central Saskatchewan. They play the Stars on Friday and Saturday night, before heading to Kindersley for a game Sunday evening. The Wings won't return to Crescent Point Place until January 21st, when they host the Humboldt Broncos.